A gang initiation, a miscarriage, a rain of teeth and ZZ Top Wannabes — it's gotta be American Horror Story!
It's AHS Season 6, and right from the start it seems that Murphy dead set on turning our expectations around. No credit sequence. Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson playing the same character. A documentary setting: My Roanoke Nightmare.
Yes, the rumors were true, this season is set in North Carolina, inspired by the true life events of the mysterious Roanoke colony. Check out what went down — and what you may have missed — in the long-awaited first episode of American Horror Story Season 6.
1. Did You Catch The Callback?
Eagle-eyed fans may recall that Roanoke was referenced way back in AHS history, in the first season's Murder House. Sarah Paulson's Billie Dean Howard tells the Harmons about bad juju, using Roanoke as an example:
"It’s difficult to banish a spirit, but not impossible. The most successful attempt that I know of happened when America was known as the New World… In 1590, on the coast of what we now know as North Carolina, the entire colony of Roanoke — all 117 men, women, and children — died inexplicably. It became known as the Ghost Colony because the spirits remained. They haunted the native tribes living in the surrounding area, killing indiscriminately...
The elder knew he had to act. He cast a banishment curse. First, he collected the personal belongings of all the dead colonists. Then he burned them. The ghosts appeared, summoned by their talismans. But before the spirits could cause them any more harm, the elder completed the curse that would banish the ghosts forever. By uttering a single world… the same word found carved on a post at the abandoned colony: Croatoan.''
This sets the tone for our new season, and seemingly fulfills the dual timeline Murphy promised us.
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2. Meta Magic
This season is kinda high-concept. This season is a fictionalized documentary based on real events, with two actors playing each character, one as the "real" person and one as the "re-enactment" actor. Got that? To add another layer of confusion, we saw Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. alongside each other very recently in another dramatization based on real-life events, American Crime Story.
Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe in the "interview footage," Sarah Paulson in the "re-enactment") and her husband Max (Andre Holland in the "interview footage," Cuba Gooding Jr. in the "re-enactment") move to the country after a near-fatal run-in with a city gang leaves Max concussed and causes Shelby to miscarry their baby.
The couple fall in love with a rickety old house in Carolina — "3 bedrooms, 2 stories and a basement" — looking very much like a rural idyll of the Murder House; and the similarities between Seasons 1 and 6 don't stop there.
When weird stuff starts happening, Shelby and Max blame local yokels the Polks — Grady Lee Richmond, Orson Chaplin and, in a stroke of casting genius, Chaz Bono — but, this being American Horror Story, this can't be a simple case of spookin' the new neighbors.
3. Piggy Piggy
Remember the terrifying Piggy Piggy stuff in Season 1, when a freaky pig dude appeared when you spoke his name into a mirror, a la Candyman? Well, something like that has resurfaced in Season 6. First, a dead pig appears to scare the ever-lovin' crap out of Shelby Miller (Sarah Paulson). Then, Shelby and sister-in-law Lee get locked in the basement with a creepy videotape showing a screeching creature with the body of a man and the head of a pig. I guess it's not only Jigsaw who has an obsession with those snorting, snuffling li'l piggies...
4. Script On Point
We can already tell that Matt's Sister Lee (Angela Bassett / Adina Porter) is gonna have some of the best lines this season, delivering some firecrackers from the first moment:
- "He was a serial rapist, a real asshole. I hate assholes."
- "My brother married one jumpy bitch."
- "I may not have my badge, but Mama's still packin'."
5. Movie References
There were some strong cinematic references in this episode. The young couple disillusioned with city life after a terrible crime is reminiscent of of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, while the nefarious, cultish rural elements were strongly reminiscent of The Wicker Man, Kill List and The Last Exorcism. Those two girls sweeping past Shelby in the corridor were a kind of sexy, grown-up Grady twins, but my favorite moment was the rain of teeth — how devastatingly biblical and gross was that?
Most of all, no horror fan missed the movie nod in the episode's crescendo, when it all went full Blair Witch.
6. The Music
As a documentary format, this season doesn't have any songs beyond a simple score, so there will be no carefully curated soundtrack as there was for last season's music (which you can listen to via Spotify below).
What do you think will happen in the next episode of American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare?
All Images: FX